“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20”24)
One life out of fifty billion people who have ever lived will soon be past. After more than thirty years of diligent study and research -- what do I now consider the BOTTOM LINE -- what is it I have finally learned?
The following verse became my mantra which has sustained me all these years as I pursued answers to all those profound questions confronting me:
“ASK, AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN YOU;
SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND;
KNOCK, AND IT SHALL BE OPENED
As I write in April, 2018, there is only one answer:
EVERYTHING BEGINS AND ENDS WITH GOD
Meaning God is above, other than, and distinct from all he has made - he transcends it all.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13)
One of the most important realities that came to light during my years of study was the fact that natural man in his short life will never find satisfactory answers to all the questions he can pose. The greatest scholars of the world have failed to find anymore than what God has provided in the Bible. They have sincerely attempted to know the mind of God. But in spite of this, I have discovered that not knowing “everything” is not a deterrent to achieving final victory.
I learned God is knowable. He revealed Himself through the Son Jesus Christ.
“ . . .he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9)
You don’t have to have a degree in theology to know God. From front to back, the Bible declares that the knowledge of God comes through Jesus Christ. In some cases, a degree in theology is a barrier, because so many get stuck at the level of knowing about God without really knowing God.
When I first started this treatise, early on it became obvious that one never finishes a project like that. There’s always more to be done, more to be learned. If you never start because you think you will never finish, you lose. In no quest is this more true than in the quest to know God. I believe I was chosen for it. That’s the wonderful surprise. The aptitude for this work doesn’t come from me. It can’t come from me. God says we have already been chosen before the foundation of the world. I don’t understand it, but I believe it on faith
Our Eternal Reward
Like Paul, we have run the race, and when in faith we believe, we have won. Our reward is heaven in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ; paradise; a state of perfect love and peace. That was God’s plan before creation for all mankind.
It is a house built by God and a city of God’s preparing, its foundations are strong. It is a country of which God’s believers are the citizens. Heaven is our kingdom inheritance where we shall reign as kings with incorruptible crowns of righteousness and life. It is called glory; a place of peace and rest and joy. It is Abraham’s bosom where tables are fitly spread that the redeemed may fellowship together and feast. It is beyond compare, the wealth of this world is nothing to it. It is enduring, never-fading and passes not away.
More, heaven is free from all evil; from temptations within and without; from the dominion of sin; from guilt because of sin, from fears, disease, sickness and suffering. There are no tears in heaven, nor sadness, no, not even for loved ones lost. Our pleasure is in God Himself, in communion with Him, Father, Son and Holy Ghost in the highest perfection and without interruption. We will see Christ and behold His glory with the eyes of our understanding enlarged to comprehend His beauty. We shall see Him in His body, crowned with glory and honor who was crowned with thorns, spit upon, buffeted, crucified, pierced and wounded for us.
We will stand with angels, walk with friends, sit down in the company of Abraham, Isaiah, Moses, and David. We will visit with Paul, Adam and Mary. Rejoice with all the blood bought people of God and dwell eternally in perfect holiness and love beyond our present imagination.
All believers are joint-heirs of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.. There will be no hierarchies or classes or degrees. We will see Him as He is in His humanity. We shall know as we are known and we will be like Him every one.
Therefore we may say to every blessed believer, as did the Lord in His day without fear of contradiction, ‘Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven’ (Matthew 5:12)
Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him" (I Corinthians 2:9--The Apostle Paul)
The Certitude of Faith
I once read some place, “Certitude is the enemy of faith.” These words have caused me to reflect on this. Certitude, which I define as complete and total assurance, is not the enemy of faith. It is of its very essence.
Certitude is certainty. It is conviction. It is the power of faith that approaches knowledge—yes, that even becomes knowledge. It evokes enthusiasm, and there is no asset comparable to enthusiasm in overcoming opposition, prejudice, and indifference.
The gospel of Paul was never expounded to the convincing of others without certainty. Faith, which is of the very essence of personal conviction, has always been, and always must be, at the root of religious practice and endeavor.
Following the death of the Savior, would His Apostles have carried on, teaching His doctrine, even giving their lives in the most painful of circumstances, if there were any uncertainty concerning Him whom they represented and whose doctrine they taught? There was no lack of certitude on the part of Paul after he had seen a light and heard a voice while en route to Damascus to persecute the Christians. For more than three decades after being chosen by the Risen Lord, he devoted his time, his strength, his life to the spreading of the gospel of the resurrected Lord. Without regard for personal comfort or safety, he traveled over the known world of his time, declaring that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38–39).
Executed in Rome, Paul sealed with his death his final testimony of his conviction of the divine sonship of Jesus Christ.
So it was with the early Christians, thousands upon thousands of them, who suffered imprisonment, torture, and death rather than recant their stated beliefs in the life and resurrection of the Son of God.
Would there ever have been a Reformation without the certitude that drove with boldness such giants as Luther, Huss, Zwingli, and others of their kind?
By the Holy Spirit, Results Are Certain and Testimony Sure
The marvelous and wonderful thing is that any individual who desires to know the truth may receive that conviction. The Lord Himself gave the formula when He said, “If any man will do the will of the Father, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).
It will take study of the word of God. It will take prayer and anxious seeking of the source of all truth. It will take living the gospel, an experiment, if you please, in following the teachings. People of the world seem unable to believe it, so many of them. What they do not realize is that the things of God are understood only by the Spirit of God. There must be effort. There must be humility. There must be prayer. But the results are certain and the testimony is sure.
To all believers in the Gospel of Paul, I invoke the blessings of the Lord upon you as with certitude I give you my witness of the truth. I know that God our Eternal Father lives. I know that. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of mankind, the author of our salvation.
The Bottom Line
The path to God is a one way street. Only God could become man-man can never become God. God’s attribute of transcendence is at the center of it all. This is the all-encompassing problem every man must come to terms with.
Only God has the attribute of transcendence. Man struggles to transcend, but cannot do it, because he lacks that attribute. It is the inability to transcend that is at the root cause of Satan and atheism.
God does not permit man to be able to completely transcend; instead he gave man the capacity to have unfettered faith—that is, to believe God with no strings attached. It is faith in God through His Son Jesus Christ that is man’s path to eternal salvation.
Although God is the greatest subject a human could conceive of by any thought process, human mental awareness is limited. The ineffability of God refers to those characteristics of his nature and his plan that are beyond comprehension and unable to be expressed through human means of speech. When we speak of God’s nature we quickly move into this realm. God has revealed many things, but there are also many “secret” things that remain hidden and will always remain an ineffable mystery. “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29(KJV)).
When all is said and done I am now at peace with myself , “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7[KJV]). It is the inner calmness promised to all believers who acquire that thankful attitude based on unwavering confidence that God is able and willing to do what is best for us. My trust in Him brings about a peace that transcends human intellect, and human analysis. I have finally come to that place where I know what the truth is for me. I now know what God expects from me -- and that is BELIEF, FAITH, AND CERTAINTY.